Carla Laemmle, Actress and Niece of Universal Studios Founder, Dies at 104

Carla Laemmle, a dancer and actress whose uncle, Carl Laemmle, co-founded Universal Studios, died Thursday night at her home in Los Angeles. She was 104.

Her caretaker, Josephine Delavega, confirmed the news of her death one of the Reporter.

Laemmle, one of the few surviving actors of the silent-film era, appeared as the prima ballerina in the 1925 Universal production of The Phantom of the Opera and played a secretary who delivers the first line of dialogue in another Universal classic: Dracula (1931). She told her fellow coach passengers: “Among the rugged peaks that frown down upon the Borgo Pass are found crumbling castles of a bygone age…”

Born Oct. 20, 1909, in Chicago, she came to Los Angeles in January 1921 after her father, Joseph, received a letter from his brother Carl, inviting him and his family to relocate to Southern California. (The studio was founded in 1912.)